Barry McGee’s Untitled is a collection of roughly fifty, framed photographs, paintings, and text pieces clustered together in corner. Its tiled effect can perhaps be seen as a vertical Carl Andre work and also bears some resemblance to another work in the Kadist Collection, Jedediah Caesar’s JCA-25-SC. McGee’s installation also echoes the votive altars in the chapels he visited during his residency in Brazil in 1993. One almost expects to see candles lit below the work honoring the dead or loved ones in crisis. This is appropriate since the individual elements in Untitled depict and honor the disenfranchised, outcasts, and sometimes ghosts of San Francisco street life.
San Francisco-based artist Barry McGee graduated from the San Francisco Art Institute in 1991 with a concentration in painting and printmaking and is considered a central figure in the Mission School movement. His work is heavily influenced by graffiti, comic books, skateboard culture, green culture, and social activism and usually reflects, with a pessimistic view, upon the urban environment that surrounds him. McGee’s large-scale painting installations often take a particular iconography in which a background of abstract, acid-colored patterns is overlayed with text and figures.